On Friday, the NYS Department of Health issued a press release with new findings on lung-related illnesses and warned against the use of “black market” vaping products. Their lab tests show high levels of Vitamin E Acetate, a thick oil found exclusively in unregulated THC cartridges (the psychoactive substance in cannabis), which is now the focus of the investigation.
Ignoring their findings, New York State Governor Cuomo recommended that New Yorkers stop vaping “everything.” New York State Vapor Association, Inc. (NYSVA.org) warns government officials that confusing e-cigarettes with unregulated street drugs will likely cause hundreds of thousands of New York vapers, many of whom have never used illicit THC products, to return to smoking cigarettes after being smoke-free for years.
“If a bad batch of penicillin causes illness and death, CDC doesn’t recommend people stop using all antibiotics. It is irresponsible to warn people to stop vaping life-saving e-cigarettes when tainted ‘e-joints’ have already been isolated as the source. After achieving all-time low smoking rates, these misleading statements will cost thousands of lives when New Yorkers return to cigarettes,” says Spike Babaian of NYSVA.
“This misinformation is inciting local municipalities to jump on the e-liquid flavor ban bandwagon. By removing flavors from the market, which are crucial in helping 95% of ex-smokers disassociate from tobacco and avoid relapse, a vibrant underground market will spring up immediately,” said Cheryl Richter of NYSVA. “Commercial e-liquid is regulated by the FDA. Surveys show that when people cannot legally access products they depend on to keep from smoking, they either go back to smoking, get it illegally or make it themselves. None of these are good options for public health.”
This health crisis serves as a warning to the FDA. In May of 2020, when unachievable regulations go into effect, the risk of an illicit nicotine market poses an impending public health disaster. NYSVA recommends consumers buy e-liquid from reputable sources with proper FDA labeling, including ingredients, warnings and distribution address and to look for batch numbers/expiration dates. By 2020, New York vapor product retailers must be licensed, and age to purchase will be raised to 21.